Darling-Hammond, a teacher-friendly educator, has been tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to head his transition team on education policy.
I thought education was supposed to benefit the children.
I’m feeling a little sour on the subject right now because I went to the elementary school science fair yesterday. What was fascinating was the it more closely resembled a craft fair. The kids had clearly done a lot of work, but they knew nothing.
They’d been given little motors and had stuck them in shoe boxes and added whirligigs that spun around madly, but they had no idea, even at a basic level, how a motor worked. They’d been given magnets and had built little soccer fields where magnets dragged players down, but they had no idea, even at a basic level, how magnetism worked. They’d been given rocks, and had all sorts of implements for conducting scratch tests, but they had no idea what the scratch tests demonstrated about the rocks’ composition.
They’d all worked incredibly hard and learned nothing. This was no a lack of effort. There was, instead, a complete lack of thought — thought at the curriculum level. I’m quite sure that Darling-Hammond will encourage this kind of time-wasting, because she strikes me as that kind of “educator.”
The only solace is that, when the kids in my community hit middle school, then they actually start learning — and learning well. I just have to be patient.